I’ve been hearing about Eataly for years and finally made it to the one in New York a few months back. It was everything and more that I had hope for with shelves and shelves of Italian food products tucked between a variety of eateries. What more could a crazed Italophile ask for? Had I not been preparing to go to Italy, I would have bought a lot more than the few bags of pasta that I stuffed into my suitcase.
The original Eataly is located in Torino, an Italian city in Piemonte that I’ve yet to visit. Opened in 2006 it has been described as a combination of Pecks (the spectacular food emporium in Milan) and Whole Foods with a good dose of Slow Food philosophy thrown in. Now there are various locations around the world and one smack in the middle of Bologna’s food market.
This venue is more of a large bookstore with shelves lined with all sorts of food items and three or four places to dine. There’s a bar with coffee and pastries, and a station with feshly made panini nearby. There’s also a trattoria with tables outside on the street and an osteria up on the second floor. I loved the communal tables crowded with locals enjoying their purchases.
Being there at mid-day I opted for a panino and was lucky to grab one of the high top tables outside in the midst of the market. I had a hard time making a decision. They all looked so good. I ended up with a zucchini frittata topped with arugula on a ciabatta roll. Served warm, I savored every bite. I found myself returning to Eataly every day just to check out the scene and see if there was anything else I just had to have. Oh, and I did try one more panino-bresaola with arugula and ricotta cheese.